SPOILER ALERT - The Bachelor - who will get the ring?

SPOILER ALERT - The Bachelor - who will get the ring?

SPOILER ALERT - The Bachelor - who will get the ring?

And so, another season of “The Bachelor” is in full swing, a sign of hope to anyone who’s single that they too could find love, so long as their willing to go on national television and date 22 people at the same time? Or maybe they’d rather be one of the lovely ladies playing house with their 21 competitors. Either way, people across Australia will be watching as all 22 girls fall for Matty J, hoping that a shiny rock awaits the lucky lady who wins his heart.  

If you thought this was about who gets Matty J's ring, think more along the lines of who gets Matty J's ring if he and his chosen love follow in the footsteps of Sam and Blake (or Alex and Richie for that matter)...

Sam may have been able to auction off her stunning 3 carat Bunda ring, but what does the law say about dealing with engagement rings after separation? As always this will depend on the circumstances, and more specifically, whether the engagement leads to a marriage, or satisfies the requirements of a “de facto relationship”.

In 2007 a case came before the NSW Supreme Court, which up until recently was still good law. An engaged couple were fast approaching their wedding day when the bride decided to call it off. Upon deciding to end the engagement, she literally tossed the ring into the bin. Her ex-fiancé took the matter to Court, seeking the replacement cost of the discarded ring, which was valued at $15,250.00. The Court held that an engagement ring is a ‘conditional gift’. This means that the ring is essentially a gift given in exchange for marriage and only becomes the wife’s property once the couple actually marry. The Court said that, if you receive an engagement ring and later refuse to marry, you have to give it back.

However a new 2017 ruling by Sydney Magistrate Rodney Brender threw this case law out the door when he ruled the engagement ring was an unconditional gift.

He slammed the outdated 1926 court precedent that stated if the bride broke off the engagement, she had to return the ring but if it was the fault of the groom, she could keep it.

He stated “A gift of an engagement ring should now be seen like other gifts as given absolutely,” he said. She got to keep the ring.

Its good to remember that if you’ve separated and no longer want the shiny reminder of your ex, think again before selling or disposing of it because if Sam and Blake had lived together for 2 years or had a child, they would have been considered to be in a “de facto relationship” under Australian law. Therefore, the ring is actually considered to be part of the “property of the marriage” and, if they then sought to divide their assets and liabilities, there is a very real possibility that the proceeds obtained from the sale of the ring could be added back to the total asset pool.

So, the moral of the story is this – think carefully before doing a Sam Frost or Lara Bingle and selling off your ring or flushing it down the toilet. While we all love a happy ending, unfortunately, real life can be slightly different to what we see on TV and the last thing anyone wants, is to be held accountable for recovering the costs of an expensive ring.

Contact us now, if you need advice on De Facto Relationships, Divorce or Separation.

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Wednesday, 26 June 2019